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Archive for February, 2009

    During the fall semester The New York Times consolidated its daily edition into fewer sections.  To preserve profit margin, the executive staff found it necessary to literally shrink the size of the paper.   Today, with fewer sections printed on paper that is 1.5” shorter, the newsstand price is slightly higher than it was a year ago.  During one of our last meetings of the Fall Semester, a professor of mine mentioned that the future of the newspaper industry is in the hands of the generation currently attending MCCC.  It was up to us to decide the fate of The Times and of print-journalism in general.

     My fear isn’t that the newspaper will become impractical.  If this is the case, it’ll remain available to a niche market at a premium cost.  In the event of the total failure of the daily printed edition, The New York Times will go to an online format and nothing, seemingly, will be lost.  Recently, I was corresponding with our advisor about this problem, and I came to a different conclusion.  If we lost the print edition of The Times, would we simply be sacrificing a cost-inefficient system of transmitting information?  More likely is that the case would be one of sacrificing a brand name that, with its masthead, legitimizes the content and contracts trust with the reader.  That trust is something that electronic media has yet to earn.

     I would like to welcome new and returning students to the spring semester.  I hope this newspaper can continue to serve you, in its present format, for many semesters to come.  Of course, the choice is ultimately yours.

Regards,

Jan Dominik Kargulewicz, Editor-in-Chief

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Welcome to Generation Facebook

By Heather Massey, COM 161, Media Industries Workshop

Photo by Dennis Verbo, Photography Editor

Photo by Dennis Verbo, Photography Editor

    Cynee Godshall, a student at Montgomery County Community College, goes through her day like any other college student.  She wakes up, goes to class, and checks her Facebook any chance she can.  “I go to Facebook before any other site completely out of habit,” she says.  “My fingers automatically start typing in f-a-c-e…”

      Godshall is not the only one with a Facebook addiction.  “It’s a whole generation of people who have such diluted friendships that showing you care is sending a bumper sticker or writing on your Super Wall,” Corissa Reilly, a Liberal Studies major at MCCC, explains.

      How much has the website created by Mark Zuckerburg impacted our society?  More importantly, where are our relationships heading?  Facebook allows the 90 million active users to communicate in a way that was never possible before.  We no longer have to pick up the telephone or stop by when we happen to be “in the neighborhood” to say hello to a friend.  Now with just the click of a button, we can stop at a friend’s page and catch up.  Facebook tells us who is in a relationship with who, what they’ve been up to, where they go to school, what they’ve been watching, what they’ve been reading…virtually anything you would want to know about someone is on their homepage.

      “Facebook really does help people keep in touch with one another, although the interaction between friends becomes very limited,” Meredith Reifsnyder, another member of the Facebook generation, adds.

     Facebook has changed everyday interactions with people in our generation everywhere.  Reifsnyder continues, “Facebook allows you to ‘stalk’ your friends, or people in your network.  It allows everyone to know things about others that originally you would want to find out in person, like relationship status.  It changes the values and morals of actual friendship.”

      Many people believe that along with Facebook “stalking” to catch up, people tend to be more outspoken these days.  Josh Covel, a Graphic Design major at MCCC, said “I feel that people are more willing to be nosy and pry into others lives.  I am a culprit of that…I think we speak our minds more often because we can talk to people through wall chats or messages and not have to see them when you say things.”

This new generation doesn’t fear confrontation because people tend to be a lot braver hiding behind a computer screen.  Things can be blown way out of proportion, but at the same time, our generation is saying what it needs or wants to say without the initial fear of reaction.

      Although users of the site spend less time face to face with friends, the site can also be a very useful tool.  Like anything, Facebook has its pros and cons.  For example, the site allows people to easily look up long lost friends.  All you need is a name, and you are connected again.

      “I wouldn’t be as connected with people anymore, and I would know less about the people that I don’t talk to often.  I might even lose contact entirely with some people,” says Godshall when asked what her world would be like without Facebook.

     Whether someone believes Facebook is harming the relationships in our society, or making things easier, one thing is indisputable.  The Facebook Generation is one connected society.

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By Jan Dominik Kargulewicz, Editor-in-Chief

Photo by Dennis Verbo, Photography Editor

Photo by Dennis Verbo, Photography Editor

     On January 6, Dr. Karen A. Stout, the President of Montgomery County Community College, signed a charter with West Chester University administrators finalizing an agreement to facilitate transfers to West Chester.  The dual admissions agreement offers MCCC students the opportunity to transfer into West Chester as Juniors after having completed an Associates with at least a 2.0 Grade Point Average.  This is the first such agreement West Chester University has signed with any community college.

      The relationship between the schools pre-dates the agreement.  In 2004, the schools signed a program to program agreement for early childhood education majors. West Chester University, located approximately 35 miles from Philadelphia, is consistently ranked in the top three transfer institutions chosen by MCCC graduates.  In fact, approximately ten percent of WCU’s entire admitted transfer student population comes from MCCC.  Being that freshman admissions for the school are rated as selective (47% of students applying are admitted) the core-to-core dual admissions agreement offers a convenient way to enter the college in an otherwise competitive process.

      “We work hard to insure our students have opportunities for success—whether they come to us with a goal of transfer, or they come to us with a goal of getting an associate’s degree and going right into a career,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout.  West Chester University has been in the news recently as it has the distinct privilege of having Second Lady Jill Biden as an alumna.  Those students looking to transfer to West Chester University are advised to go to the Student Success Center and speak with an advisor.

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By Natalie Urban, Staff Writer

Photo by Dennis Verbo, Photography Editor

Photo by Dennis Verbo, Photography Editor

     On January 20, the Atrium of the Advanced Technology Center and South Hall room 216 were filled with students, faculty, administrators and community members. That day marked the Inauguration of the forty-forth President, Barack Obama. To commemorate the pivotal event, Chris Coia, the Director of the Office of Student Leadership and Involvement, hosted an Inauguration Celebration.  Only on such a day would almost 200 people be on campus before the start of the semester. The colors of red, white and blue decorated the inside of the ATC. People were invited to join in the morning hours for full coverage of the event. As the ceremony neared, more people gathered around the 11-foot plasma screen. Even MCCC’s youngest political enthusiasts, the preschool children from the Children’s Center, sat to see their first inauguration.

    Applause breaks and cheers echoed through the ATC as the opening prayer and the performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” built momentum for the time that President Obama took his oath. It was apparent how truly moving this event was when some viewers shed tears as the ceremony progressed.

     One student, Brian Nichols, shared how he felt about the day. “I think what I took from the whole day was a sense of unity and a kinship with my fellow man (woman and child). It gave me a great idea of purpose for myself and the country as a whole. The strength of the nation is not in its government, but in the strength of its people and their conviction to their goals.” Brian went on to explain that he and some fellow students were on their way to a charity event for National Military Families Association, the First Lady’s favorite charitable cause.

     Many other students have taken the initiative to get involved with politics and charity. During the time of the presidential campaign, clubs such as the Young Republicans and Young Democrats flourished. Both had a common objective to support their respective parties and the community as a whole. Now that many find their spirits renewed, more can join in to build a better tomorrow.

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By Jan Dominik Kargulewicz, Editor-in-Chief

 

Daniel J. Reavy from Verizon presents a grant check to Nancy Mellon and Dr. Karen Stout.  Photo by Dennis Verbo, Photography Editor

Daniel J. Reavy from Verizon presents a grant check to Nancy Mellon and Dr. Karen Stout. Photo by Dennis Verbo, Photography Editor

    Daniel J. Reavy, Director of External Affairs for Verizon, Pennsylvania, made a visit to MCCC on December 15.  Mr. Reavy, a long-time supporter and advocate of the college, was on campus to present a check to expand an initiative to support members of the college community who have experienced domestic violence.  The program, called “Removing Barriers to Success for Victims of Domestic Violence Abuse,” is a collaboration between Laurel House, the Women’s Center of Montgomery County, and MCCC’s New Choices/New Options program.

    Nancy Mellon, Director of the New Choices/New Options program, was on hand to receive the $10,000 check.  Along with Dr. Stout, President of MCCC, the three discussed the impact of such a grant and the value of Verizon partnering with the college and the community.

    “It is essential to address the results of domestic violence that hinder performance and achievement,” said Mellon. “This project will provide access to support groups, workshops for students, staff and interested members of the community, and will expand knowledge for all students, particularly those in the health care and human service fields.”

    Mr. Reavy went on to mention that the goal of such initiatives goes beyond the grounds of MCCC. The goal is to create lasting improvement in people’s lives and careers.

    “Verizon is proud to improve the quality of life for youth and families in Montgomery County by empowering the community with innovative tools and resources,” said Daniel J. Reavy, Director of External Affairs for Verizon, Pennsylvania. “We’re investing in programs, such as our partnership with Montgomery County Community College, to reach every type of learner across the lifespan and to touch people’s lives by focusing on education, health and family safety in the 21st Century. We understand that education does not begin or end in the classroom. Visit http://www.thinkfinity.org to learn more.”

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By Tara Durkin, Staff Writer

     Boldly colored tapestries adorned the walls of room 214 of the Science Center; the lights were dim and a half full audience waited as the members of the African Student Association of Montgomery County Community College walked up and down aisles making last minute adjustments before their talent show started.

     The show, which took place on Friday December 4, benefited St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. This was the ASA’s first attempt at a talent show, and in a nod to their inexperience, technical difficulties littered the show. Thanks, however, to a quick witted host, student Shawn Jackson, and an eclectic lineup, acts ranged from Broadway numbers to hip hop dance performances, the problems never took center stage.

      After a quick dedication to the St. Jude’s Hospital, the show began with a performance by students Dwane Graham and Lindsey Ambler, who sang Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up.” Next student, Christian Hober, from local band Track Royalty, performed an original song he called “Stand Still.” Sam Cunticera sang “Good Morning Baltimore,” from the hit musical Hairspray, before giving the stage over to Juliet Ofosu-Appiah, who sang a traditional African song. Dancers took the stage beginning with Brandon Bell, who got the audience out of their seats with his performance to an Omarion song. Comfort, Vice President of the ASA, wowed the audience next with her own dancing skills. Traditional African dances were performed by a dance group made up of ASA students. The show wrapped up with a fashion show, demonstrating the clothing worn by African men and women, followed by an original performance by student/rapper Sincerity Johnson.

      Professor Chidi Ukazim, a native Nigerian who has taught ESL at the college for over ten years, said “It was very touching to see people come out on Friday night to support such a cause.” She and her husband Dr. Emenike Ukazim, who sits on the President’s Advisory Council on Diversity at the college, watched from the front row. “It was such a joy to see the students make it work,” says Ukazim. Dawn Ackley, whose son Micah Ackley performed in the show, said she enjoyed the show and that it was “lively and entertaining.” Nikeisha Williamson, a nursing major who sang “Silent Night” with student Avery Kachline, thought the show “brought a lot of cultural awareness and appreciation to the countries of Africa.”

      In the end, members of the ASA raised about $100 for St. Jude’s, and although the night was not without flaws, audience members were entertained and enlightened. Ralph Tufour, a 25-year-old engineering major from Ghana, and President of the ASA, says he thinks it was a successful first attempt. Look forward to another fund raiser in the spring, supporting the Universal Basic Free Education Program in Jordan. Tufour, who gave an informative PowerPoint presentation about the continent of Africa during the show, says next time he hopes to focus more on education and less on entertainment.

scenes felt perfect.  All of the ingredients of the play come together to present the story of this family in an honest, engaging, and exciting way. 

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By Jeremy Coughlin, Staff Writer

      It was all smiles for the POWER, and POWER Plus program graduation in Montgomery County Community College’s dining room on December 11th. The POWER Graduates were gathered for dinner and a recognition ceremony, of which all in attendance were truly deserving. The students had worked hard for an entire semester as a group, struggling to overcome life’s most outrageous pitfalls. These aren’t your average run-of-the-mill students though; they’re people who’ve been dealt a bad hand by life and are trying to make the best of it.

     The POWER program, which stands for “Partnership On Work Enrichment and Readiness,” was started by three members of the college’s academic community, Diane Haar, Lori Schreiber, and Lisa Barbiero. These professors are complemented by other college professors as well, including Mindi Raggi, Byron Goldstein, and Social Science Dean, Dr. Aaron Shatzman. All POWER student members are people who have had some kind of mental breakdown, whether it was from severe stress or a physical accident and are at a specific stage in their recovery. Each student is then screened and selected for the program through professional referrals or personal recommendations.

     Once there, these students built confidence in themselves and their classmates, working on projects like resumes and computer skills. At the end of the semester, a large majority of students were doing phenomenally better, some getting ready to enroll in the POWER Plus Program (a college credited course), with others working on normal college courses, and some even attending school full time!

     The graduation kicked off with a welcome from Diane Haar, the program’s Director. Mindi Raggi followed Diane with a talk praising the students’ “respect for scholarship, respect for leadership, and incredible character.”

     However, the most important praise came not from the teachers or members of the POWER team, but from the students themselves; Sabrina Heloskie, who was born and raised in Montgomery County, described how the POWER Program had benefited her. After high school, Sabrina had gone from job to job and then was laid off after 11 years, which was the straw that broke the camel’s back. While in the Central Montgomery Mental Health Center, Sabrina was approached by Diane, who told her about the POWER program, telling Sabrina that the program was right up her alley. Now, after completion of the POWER program, Sabrina feels that she has enough self confidence to attend an English Composition course at the college during the Spring 2009 semester.

     Another graduate who had the chance to speak, this time from the POWER plus program, was Susan Hassinger. Susan, who was diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder in the early 1980’s, struggled through a dark period of six years before finding a working treatment through a medication called Clozaril. Though the medication helped her to control her emotions, clear her mind and focus, she realized that it could only help so much. Through a therapist she met at Central, Susan worked to build a solid support group. Eventually Susan heard about the POWER program and got involved. Susan said that she was so glad that she took the risk. The program helped her to “tackle her fears, and exchange ideas with others.” She’s also completed an English Composition course at the college.

     To date, the POWER Program has won numerous awards and many grants, including the Patricia Kind Grant for $44,000, and the 2009 Bellwether Finalist award in the category of Instructional Programs and Services. They have not yet named a winner in the category, but the college will obviously be pulling for the program. Diane and other members of the POWER team have been invited to numerous lectures and events to share their ideas about the POWER program, as it is the first of its kind in the world.

     Congratulations to the graduates of the POWER program’s and the best of luck. To learn more about the POWER Program, get a referral from your doctor or therapist, or call 215-517-7502.

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